PHOENIX — Around 5,000 students across Arizona went to the National Guard Papago Park grounds to learn about the construction trades over the course of Wednesday and Thursday.
More than 70 construction-related companies set up shop and talked with students about the different jobs its industry holds.
Casey Steketee, a senior from the American Leadership Academy, told ABC15 he is thinking about going into the construction industry. He says he wants to follow in footsteps of his grandpa who worked in the industry, too.
“I think it’s really cool because I don’t know exactly what I want to do in construction, but I can choose any field I want to go into, and there’s opportunities all around this place,” Steketee said.
It’s an industry that’s in need of more workers, among others. According to the Associated Builders and Contractors, the industry needs about 650,000 more workers to meet the demand for labor this year.
“Between people moving here in droves and all the companies coming here building their buildings, you can see all over the Valley, you can see these cranes just building and building,” said Stephan Cole, with Rosendin Electric.
“We’re definitely in a shortage of people that maybe they just don’t know about the opportunity.”
Different contractors tried to appeal to thousands of high school students, hoping to inspire and give them more information.
Troy Morgan, with Bel-Aire Mechanical, just finished his apprenticeship. He came to the event wanting to give back and help students understand there’s more to the industry than just working on someone’s house.
“I feel like people don’t really know the insides of it until they actually join… We do brand-new construction, we do rebuilds, hospitals. We have to be proficient in medical gas,” Morgan explained.
Students had the opportunity to be hands-on, from welding, bending conduit as well as operating excavators.